The University of California recognizes that its diverse constituents have helped to make it a premier research and teaching institution, and it works diligently to enhance that diversity to better reflect society as a whole. Within UC graduate education, African Americans/Blacks are underrepresented. An average from 2007 to 2011 showed just 2.5% enrollment of African Americans in all UC academic doctoral programs. A UC initiative going into its second year seeks to tap the talent at Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCUs), forging relationships between these students and UC faculty during a summer of research and mentorship.
The UC-HBCU Initiative is a grant program that helps UC faculty strengthen research ties with HBCUs and exposes students to graduate education at a UC campus, which they might not otherwise have considered.
Now through Feb. 20, 2013, UC faculty members are invited to submit grant proposals. Faculty may visit the UC-HBCU Call for Proposals page for application instructions and forms, as well as deadlines and other important information.
"We know UC faculty understand the critical value of diversity, but we also know that resources to empower their desire to do things differently are very limited and in some fields virtually nonexistent," Pamela Jennings, Director of Graduate Studies at UC Office of the President, said in a UCOP press release. “These grants are aimed at helping change that.”
Summer 2012 was the first year UC’s Office of the President offered the grants, and UC Santa Barbara participated.
Dr. Patricia Marin, Associate Director of the UC Educational Evaluation Center (UCEC) at UCSB and Co-Investigator for the UC-HBCU Initiative, told the GradPost about UCSB’s involvement last year in the program.
“Our dean circulated the Request for Proposals from UCOP. Immediately I knew this was a great fit for our center – the UC Educational Evaluation Center.” Dr. Marin coordinated the summer program on a day-to-day basis.
Dr. Marin called the first summer “fantastic.” Four students were selected with the center’s partners at Florida Agricultural and Mechanical University (FAMU) (see UCEC's UC-HBCU Initiative/UCSB-FAMU Partnership page). The students admitted for summer 2012 were: Darrius Stanley, Adam Bailey, Lois Harmon, and Eugene Bellamy Jr.
"At UCSB they received evaluation training from the UCEC, and participated in academic, professional/career, and social activities,” Dr. Marin told the GradPost.
One of the student participants, Lois Harmon, graduated from FAMU’s Elementary Education program, and in the fall of this year she entered UCSB to pursue a doctoral degree in Educational Leadership and Organizations.
Lois had this to say about her summer experience here: “My faculty and peer mentors were amazing people who helped me frame my research question and develop my study. Overall, participating in the Scholars Program was a life-changing experience for me. There was no better way for me to prepare for grad school and there is no better graduate school for me to attend. I am forever grateful to FAMU and UCSB for this opportunity of a lifetime!”
Dr. Jerry Gibson, Professor in Electrical & Computer Engineering at UCSB, also participated in the inaugural program last summer. In a video by the UC Office of the President (view the video below), he said: “The Pathways UC-HBCU program was attractive to me because I understand the value in diversity in a university environment. We need to increase the diversity to add to the quality, both of the graduate program and to the quality of the experience in the research program.”
Dr. Marin praised the program. “The UC-HBCU Initiative is an amazing opportunity to make a difference in the lives of young scholars,” she said. “It's a lot of work, but incredibly rewarding. It's exciting to see UC actively working to address issues of diversity. The UCEC would be happy to partner with any new program at UCSB!”